The recent death of Rodney King reminds us of many things, not least of which is how important technology can be in the pursuit of justice. The videotape of the beating of King by Los Angeles police in 1991 challenged our nation to take seriously claims from communities of color that they experience police brutality routinely. Fast forward to the 21st century and we can point to repeated examples where new forms of technology provide evidence in the brutal deaths of young black men– Oscar Grant (cell phone video), Derrion Albert (cell phone video), and now Trayvon Martin (cell phone call). When Trayvon’s parents wanted justice for their son they turned to new media, mounting an online petition through Change.org to pressure prosecutors to charge George Zimmerman with his death. Sadly, it seems we still need new media to aid in our pursuit of the killers of, in particular, young people of color.
As the 2012 election approaches it is important to realize how young people, especially youth of color, are using new media to amplify their voices in the political realm. While we know Obama’a 2008 campaign used social media to reach and mobilize young voters, we are less familiar with innovative ways youth of color are circumventing political elites and engaging in a new form of politics called participatory politics. That’s the term researchers in the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics use to describe acts such as starting a political group online, circulating a blog about a political issue, or forwarding political videos to friends. Like traditional political acts they address issues of public concern. The difference is that participatory acts are interactive, peer-based, and do not defer to elites or formal institutions. They are also tied to digital or new media platforms that facilitate and amplify young people’s actions. (Huffington Post)
Easy Related Posts
Black Male Turnout Higher Than Official Data Suggest
Although a recent Census Bureau study showed a stark gap between black male turnout and ...read more
Black voting is up, but will it stay?
Now that the government has confirmed that African-Americans in 2012 voted at a higher rate ...read more
African American Ministers Leadership Council: Milestone in Black Vote Shows Power of Organizing, Backlash to Voter Suppression
People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC) applauded yesterday’s Census report confirming ...read more
Clarence Thomas: 'The elites' had to approve a black president
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, the high court's only African American jurist, opened up recently ...read more